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Fighter with full BAB, light armor, but decent AC?


Advice


In the Pathfinder rules, what is the best way to make a fighter with full BAB (or near full) who still had a good AC but who wears light armor? Basically a city-themed character who, cinematically, could still be a front line fighter in light armor, should he/she become an adventurer.

I thought about a level of monk and some wisdom action, but maybe thats ineffective.

Is there a good way to do this?

Thanks!

Grand Lodge

aldori swordsman works as light armour and a monk dip for crane wing at 8th level.


Elven Chain Mail, add enhancement bonuses as regular armor.


I will check out the aldori.

As for tje elven chain, I picture the character in leather armor or something non-metallic as possible.

Thanks!


Looks like the Aldori thing isnt in the main books, so that option may remain closed to me.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Focus on fighting with a heavy shield. Wear a mithral breastplate, pick up improved shield bash. Maybe go shielded fighter.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Animation wrote:

As for tje elven chain, I picture the character in leather armor or something non-metallic as possible.

Thanks!

Options for keeping your AC up:

10 --- Base
4 --- DEX (assuming 18 at or near level 1)
3 --- Studded Leather Armor
1 --- Buckler (I'm assuming that a heavy shield would be outside your concept)
1 --- Dodge feat

That's a potential for 19 AC at level 1, which is pretty solid. From there, you can get to 21 by dropping 1k gold each on your buckler and armor. A Ring of Protection +1 is 2k, as is an Amulet of Natural Armor +1, so after a total of 6k and change you're looking at 23 AC and still at a reasonably low level. For another 3k apiece you can upgrade your armor and buckler to +2 versions, taking you to 25 AC. Next up is a +2 DEX belt for 4k gold, bringing you to 26 AC.

Etc, etc


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

The full Captain America build could fit quite nice. Two hand a heavy shield and power attack. Be sure to get the bashing enchantment, that way every additional +1 to AC, is a +1 to damage.


Jiggy,

I will try to work with that. Thanks!

BBT,

A heavy shield wouldnt fit the style. Thanks for the response tho!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Pick up Combat Expertise for a -1/+1 to hit/AC when you need it that scales as you level up.

High Dex gives you a high AC, but you'll need Weapon Finesse to pull this off effectively. It also gives you a high Initiative modifier, which will let you hit your enemies back first.

As soon as you can get it, pick up the Agile weapon property from the Pathfinder Society Field Guide to allow you to add your Dex modifier to damage rolls.

Learn the rules for fighting defensively to boost your AC higher when you need to.

I'd skip the Monk level as it requires you to give up a level of BAB, and increases the number of attributes you have to have over 10 in order to be effective (MAD syndrome). If you focus on Dex, you can start off with a 20 Dex and 13 Int, with anything left over in Con (for HP and Fort saves). If you go with the monk level you'll add Wis to the list of abilities you want to put points in (even though this helps with Will saves, so maybe worth it if you can afford the hit to your Con).

Shadow Lodge Dedicated Voter 2014

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

If you don't want a shield, you might look at the Free Hand Fighter archetype, and/or eventually going into the Duelist Prestige Class.

The Free Hand Fighter gives scaling Maneuver and AC bonuses, but only as long as you wear light armor and have your off-hand empty.

Shadow Lodge

Acrobatics can help your AC too. If you have 3 ranks in acrobatics you gain +3 ac when fighting defensively (rather than +2) and +6 (rather than +4)with total defence. Granted this will impact upon your to hit (-4 with fight defensively and you can't attack with total defense), but its a nice option if you are looking to survive a tough fight.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

If going for Combat Expertise, a Madu would be a good investment.


Thorkull wrote:


I'd skip the Monk level as it requires you to give up a level of BAB, and increases the number of attributes you have to have over 10 in order to be effective (MAD syndrome). If you focus on Dex, you can start off with a 20 Dex and 13 Int, with anything left over in Con (for HP and Fort saves). If you go with the monk level you'll add Wis to the list of abilities you want to put points in (even though this helps with Will saves, so maybe worth it if you can afford the hit to your Con).

I disagree; a 1 or 2 level monk dip is great for this kind of build, even if your Wis is only 10 (unless planning to go completely unarmored, he won't get the Wis to AC anyway). Because with Master of Many Styles, you can pick up Crane Wing very cheaply, which is probably one of the best defensive feats you can get for this kind of build. That (plus the simple boost that Crane Style gives to fighting defensively) is worth the 1 point loss of BAB, IMO.


High dex, studded leather, or if available, leaf armor, moving up to mithril chain shirt and a buckler. The armor and buckler can both be enchanted.

I am not a fan of the dodge feat. An entire feat for a +1 to AC is an expensive way to boost AC. But it can help.

This approach allows you to improve your AC with dex-boosting buffs.

A level 8 character with +1 studded leather armor, 18 dex, +1 ring of protection, buckler and +1 amulet of natural armor has a base AC of 20. Toss a "cat's grace" on them and that's boosted to an AC of 22. An AC of 22 at level 8 isn't great for a front-line melee character, but it's not too shabby either. In fact AC 22 is what my level 8 archer druid has before buffs. Buffed up for most battles she gets to AC 25. That usually allows her to take at least a couple of hits before she is in danger of going down.

We had a melee cleric at level 8 who, with buffs, could get their AC to 32 or even higher. The player finally retired that cleric because he was so hard to hit that the GM was ignoring him and coming after squishier targets. Now he plays a rogue and our main melee character is a barbarian who has a base AC of 26 I think, but his character is built more around taking a hit than avoiding a hit. He can usually take several hits before needing to be healed.

Of course I throw my animal companion who wears +1 leather barding, has an AC of 25 and 65 HP, so he can take a pounding too.

Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Animation wrote:

Jiggy,

I will try to work with that. Thanks!

BBT,

A heavy shield wouldnt fit the style. Thanks for the response tho!

Are you averse to any shield? Buckler or light shield is still useful, and shield feats and magic still give them a good bonus (personally I always prefer a light shield with feat and magic buffs to a heavy shield to avoid high ACP etc.) .

If not, what pH unbalanced said. Playing a light armored fighter is good for any archetype really since most fighter archetypes replace armor training--but if you're sticking to light armor, you don't need armor training as much. (Although you don't necessarily get other ways to boost mobility or AC, but the other posts have plenty of suggestions for that.)

If you're not averse to dipping you could always take a level of a caster class that has a 1st level AC boost spell (with a no-shield fighter, taking 1 level of an arcane class to cast shield can work).


1 person marked this as a favorite.

For a Fighter, "light armor" very quickly becomes "mithral full plate." That's just how the class is. They can use extremely heavy armors as if it was leather. You could wear lighter, but unless doing a finesse build (IMO a bad idea) or an archer, you'd be hard pressed to go above the +7 dex (+1 base, +2 mithral, +4 armor training IV) the aforementioned armor allows without being horrendously weak in other critical areas.


Super Genius Guide to Feats of Battle has a feat called Web of Steel, which grants an armor bonus if you're wielding a chosen weapon while wear either light or no armor.


Thanks for the replies, I appreciate them all. I just want to avoid any armor that looks heavy or that is metallic at all. Ive got lots of options to play with now.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
JiCi wrote:
Super Genius Guide to Feats of Battle has a feat called Web of Steel, which grants an armor bonus if you're wielding a chosen weapon while wear either light or no armor.

If you use 3rd party material this is your hands down best bet, though it has heavy requirements (dodge, weapon focus and combat expertise. But you get a scaling armor bonus, that can stack with any other kind of AC bonus you can manage from say the duelist prc, or with a level or two of monk.

Another option is also from super genius games, and that is the Yuxia Archetype from the Genius Guide to Martial Archetypes, which can be used with any base class, and offers a way to get a solid armor bonus when unarmored (as well as a bunch of other really cool abilities).


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Actually, Free hand fighter, dex based, using scimitar and the Dervish Dance feat. You could get a decent AC.


Dragonscale chainshirt is not metal nor is it heavy. - Gauss


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

A goblin Weapon Master with the dervish dancer feat can be a terror in light armor.

Sovereign Court

Core book only? Your not going to get there very easily or right away. I suggest having a very good constitution score and picking up toughness, then you'll at least be very survivable. Don't start fights if you can help it and use your head. Play it smart, especially if your city based adventuring.


Have you considered getting glamered on your armor?

If you don't mind wearing armoor, but don't want it to look like armor, glamered makes it look like clothes for 2700 gp.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Glamered comfort adamantine full plate! :D


Well i play a DEX based single class fighter and he rocks!, forget multi-class, you need feats! and fighter got them.

I went Aldori Swordlord as archetype, they are the ultimate duelist.
First: the sword; 1d8 damage, 19-20 crit, finessable, you can use it 2Handed and add 1 1/2 STR bonus, feat to go with it. Really a fantastic weapon. Aldori mastery give you +2 AC, sweettttt
Make sure you pick an Agile magic version (+1 enhanc, put DEX to damage)

Archetype: focus on AC and disarm, fit with your city style.

Armor: get mithral chainshirt, don't look back! enchant it, be happy!

Feats: Combat Expertise(CE) is nice, -to hit for +AC, perfect (as a fighter you'll have a ton of to hit) but CE open up a bunch of feats, like Imp Disarm, Imp Trip, etc..
I recommend Dodge, not for the meager +1AC (which is still +1) but for what's it brings: Mobility and Spring Attack!
Now, the coup de grace: Vital Strike :) this little feat let you roll twice and ADD the damage... me love, me love beaucoup!
At 7th level... you become nearly untouchable..

So by going full fighter- Aldori Swordlord, at level 6 (like mine) you can look like that:
DEX: 20, base 17, +2 racial (human), +1 level 4
AC: 25 (27 with CE), mith chainshirt+1, ring+1, feats and class feature.
HP: 58 (14 CON) not to bad!
Feats: EWP: Aldori sword, WF: Aldori sword, WF, dodge, Quickdraw, Vital Stike. Next feats will be Mobility and Spring Attack.

With that set up, i can go in, strike (hard with Vital Strike) and get out of the way. Well that's my build, full mobility and he can pack a punch to! hope it help...


Vital strike doesn't work with spring attack unless you're using houserules yet another reason why skirmishing is terribly subpar in this game.

Grand Lodge

If not a large shield, how about a small one? TWF with a shield isn't a bad way to go really. As a fighter you will have enough feats for it.

Scarab Sages

A similar build, which I am experimenting with, is a Tengu Lore Warden using a meteor hammer. Whats funny is that I am terrible at playin a fighter - my guy in his light armor is usually getting dropped by the BBEG. I plan on taking a level of Paladin just to get heavy armor access; I am not a fan of playing a 1 trick pony type - CMB play is nice, but you cannot disarm a flying dragon, nor can you trip him.


Indivar wrote:
CMB play is nice, but you cannot disarm a flying dragon, nor can you trip him.

To be fair, if you're playing a non-archer fighter type, then anything that is flying is bad for you. Pull out your secondary ranged weapon that you haven't invested in and "contribute" as much as you can.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Free Hand Fighter with Crane Style


What is free hand fighter doing that's better than...any other fighter that keeps weapon training?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

free-hand fighters get some bonuses to certain maneuvers (disarm in particular) as well as a scaling AC bonus (as long as they are wearing light armor and aren't encumbered) - if you are already planning a light armor fighter you are likely already considering a finesse build where the disarm maneuver tree might also be of interest (the free-hand fighter also gets some interesting additional abilities at higher levels - stuff that might actually be best with a slight dip in another class like rogue for sneak damage to take full advantage of being able to potentially make opponents flat-footed.


Are you after the fighter class specifically or simply "someone who is good at fighting"? Your statements about BAB and such imply the later. In that case, might I suggest skipping the fighter class and going Ranger, possibly an Urban Ranger?


Animation wrote:

In the Pathfinder rules, what is the best way to make a fighter with full BAB (or near full) who still had a good AC but who wears light armor? Basically a city-themed character who, cinematically, could still be a front line fighter in light armor, should he/she become an adventurer.

I thought about a level of monk and some wisdom action, but maybe thats ineffective.

Is there a good way to do this?

Thanks!

I suggest using "Fighting Defensively" and Crane Wing Style (feats 1 and 3, attained through a monk moms dip or unarmed fighter)

- F.defensively: 2 Ac, -4 hit
- Crane Style: 2 Ac, -2 hit
- Crane Riposte: 3 AC, -1 hit
- 3+ ranks in acrobatics: 4 AC, -1 hit.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
blackbloodtroll wrote:
Focus on fighting with a heavy shield. Wear a mithral breastplate, pick up improved shield bash. Maybe go shielded fighter.

Heavy shield kind of destroys the concept the OP has in mind. Might as well go back to plate if you're going to be lugging around a big sheet of metal.

OP: If going the light armor route did not have minuses to it, no one would ever wear medium or heavy armor. If you're looking to defend yourself wearing light armor, quite frankly the strategy you need to look at, is denying your enemies opportunities to hit you. Light armor wearers survive by superior combat maneuvers.


You could go fighter/rogue, with mostly rogue. I've seen this done up to 13th-level. Take Improved Feint, which can give you a sneak attack every round. Problem - much weaker when you get multiple attacks from a high BAB :(

The PC was a "glass ninja", having high AC but not great hit points. (They were an elf too, which didn't help matters.)


Look to go duelist.Sounds like a foppish type of setting to me, I HATE light armor on a FIGHTER but that's just my sensibilities and grasp of "cinema". That said, go the dodge, mobility, spring and whirlwind attack and don't neglect intelligence for the combat expertise. Minimum int of 13 is what you will be looking for but a 14 or higher is good if you go duelist since they add int to ac at some point.


Throwing in with the Aldori swordsman (not the prestige class, the fighter archetype).

At level finesse-build 11 (monk (master of many styles) 2, Fighter (aldori) 9), as a "real" character (ie. having gone through adventures, not theorycrafted), and wearing no armor (in fact, it armor would hurt her) is running something like 41 AC (32 touch i think, and about 24 flat footed). It even surprises me sometimes.

Add to that the Crane Wing chain, and she just really doesn't get hit, PLUS she's getting AoOs when foes miss her. She doesn't roll a ton of damage per attack (like d8+12), but she's got tricks (disarm, dirty trick). Good fun.

If I ever get around to purchasing some bracers of armor, GMs just won't try hitting me anymore... defacto infinte AC! :)


I made a character for a friend in campaign we've been playing for a while now; however there are several caveats that made her particularly good in our campaign:

Starting at level 11 - I dumped Strength, so early levels would suck.
BAB/Save Stacking - We say if you have 2 levels of inquisitor and 2 levels of monk, you have BAB +3
Feat Training - We allow players to buy a few feats like dodge and exotic weapon proficiency for 5k each.
Weapon Finesse - Everyone has this feat for free

To negate this, you could probably take out combat style mastery, kirin path feats, be a human, etc.

Amazing Stats - With our weird point buy, if you can call it that, as a level 1 Elf, she would have had:

Str 6
Dex 18
Con 14
Int 20
Wis 18
Cha 8

Anyway, without further ado...

Inquisitor 2/Master of Many Styles Sohei Monk 2/Lore Warden Fighter 2/Aldori Swordlord 1/Duelist 4

Feats:
Dodge
Mobility
Exotic Weapon Prof (Aldori Dueling Sword)
Weapon Focus( Aldori Dueling Sword)
Dazzling Display
Aldori Dueling Mastery
Combat Style Master
Crane Style
Crane Wing
Crane Riposte
Kirin Style
Kirin Strike
Kirin Path
Combat Reflexes
Combat Expertise
Run

Sources of AC:
Bracers of Armor or have a friend cast Mage Armor
+2 Shield Bonus from Aldori Dueling Mastery
Dexterity
Intelligence (capped at +4, currently)
Dodge
Amulet of Natural Armor
Ring of Protection
Wisdom
Fighting Defensively for -1 to attack, +4 to AC
Combat Expertise for -2 to attack, +3 to AC
Enhanced Mobility for +8 to AC vs AoO's from movement
Kirin Style for +2 to AC vs AoO's

Sources of initiative:
Dexterity
Wisdom
+2 from Aldori Dueling Mastery
+1 from Devoted Guardian (Sohei ability)
+2 from Improved Reaction (Duelist Ability)
+2 from Fleet-Footed (Elf racial alternate)
+2 from Warrior of Old (Trait)

Saving Throws:
High base saves from multi-classing (I believe its 11 Fort, 7 Reflex, and 9 Will IF you stack saving throw fractions, 10 Fort, 6 Reflex, and 8 Will if you don't)
+2 to Reflex from Duelist
+2 to all saves with Kirin Style
Con, Dex, and Wis should be high in this build
Cloak of Resistance

Damage output:
d8 19-20 crit range
Add dex to damage
Add Duelist level to damage
Add enhancement bonus
Kirin Strike (2xInt to damage)

(Lower than most fighter builds generally, but you can contribute well enough)

Other Notable abilities:
Always acts in surprise round (Sohei ability)
Adds Wisdom instead of Cha to Bluff, Diplomacy, and Intimidate
Adds Wisdom to CMD
Adds Wisdom to Knowledge checks to identify monsters
Kirin Path and Combat Reflexes makes for some weird fun. Have someone cast Enlarge Person on you for even more crazy.
Can enter Kirin Style and Crane Style simultaneously without spending swift actions
A LOT of skill points (High int, 4+Int and 6+Int classes)
There are only 3 skills that aren't class skills for you: Disable Device, Fly, and Sleight of Hand
Judgment 1/day, Parry, Evasion, Detect Alignment and probably a few other abilities I'm forgetting.

Anyway, I had a fun time building it, and although our group has taken serious liberties with the rules, I think a similar build could be made and it would still be pretty sweet. :3


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
StreamOfTheSky wrote:
What is free hand fighter doing that's better than...any other fighter that keeps weapon training?

They get a dodge bonus in light armour and as they are keeping one hand free anyway they might as well use Crane Style to up the AC, get the free deflected attack and with Crane Riposte a free hit as well.

Sure, they lose on weapon training, but if you use the option to go duelist, you can then boost AC with Canny Defence and damage with Precise Strike. You aren't going to ever get the higher levels of weapon training, so who cares? To get Crane Style and Crane Wing dip two levels of Master of Many Styles. Given the Evasion, boost to saves and Wisdom bonus to AC it's well worth losing +1 to hit.

Conundrum wrote:
Look to go duelist.Sounds like a foppish type of setting to me, I HATE light armor on a FIGHTER but that's just my sensibilities and grasp of "cinema". That said, go the dodge, mobility, spring and whirlwind attack and don't neglect intelligence for the combat expertise. Minimum int of 13 is what you will be looking for but a 14 or higher is good if you go duelist since they add int to ac at some point.

I love the light fighter concept. Heavy armour is for battle, not adventuring!


StreamOfTheSky wrote:
For a Fighter, "light armor" very quickly becomes "mithral full plate." That's just how the class is. They can use extremely heavy armors as if it was leather. You could wear lighter, but unless doing a finesse build (IMO a bad idea) or an archer, you'd be hard pressed to go above the +7 dex (+1 base, +2 mithral, +4 armor training IV) the aforementioned armor allows without being horrendously weak in other critical areas.

The problem with armor training is that it reduces your penalty for wearing medium or heavy armor but does not reduce your penalty for carrying a medium or heavy load, which means that to fully benefit from armor training, a fighter needs both a high Strength (or a wand of Ant Haul) and a high Dexterity.

Liberty's Edge

use a level of monk in there somewhere, then go duelist. you get to add your DEX, WIS, and INT to AC if I remember correctly. just get some belts and headbands to buff desired abilities and watch that AC soar. you won't need armor at all, just enchant your accessories appropriately, and use the above advice on defensive feats, finesse and agile weapons to keep the damage up, and round out your equipment as needed. you're golden. Make that monk level a martial artist archetype from UC, and you don't even have to care about alignment.

You're welcome


I also recommend Duelist.

Ninja 4/Monk 4/Duelist X
or
Magus 4/ Ninja 4/Duelist X

You could go traditional free-hand fighter into duelist but I found that to be a little boring.

I have these specced out to level 16 if you would be interested to see them. As others mentioned as well Crane Style while fighting defenisely is pretty good and Duelist actually makes it better.


Animation wrote:

I will check out the aldori.

As for tje elven chain, I picture the character in leather armor or something non-metallic as possible.

Thanks!

Mithril Armored Coat. Looks like a long coat. Has mithril plates in it. Acts like light armor due to mithril. +4 AC; Dex bonus is +5 Armor Check --.

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